Today, graduate student employees (part of the Loyola Worker Coalition), healthcare workers of SEIU Healthcare and community allies gathered outside Loyola University’s Lakeshore campus to demand that GOP leaders US Representative Peter Roskam, US House Speaker Paul Ryan, and IL Governor Bruce Rauner reverse course and oppose the Trump Tax plan.
The GOP tax plan will cause as much as a $1.8 billion cut to healthcare services – including hospital visits and nursing home care funded through Medicaid – as well as jeopardize the education of over 170,000 graduate students. While Illinois families experience deep cuts under the bill, the wealthy will receive enormous tax breaks – including a $300 million cut for Governor Rauner who endorsed the plan days ago. On November 16th, Rep. Peter Roskam – a member of the GOP House leadership – voted in favor of the House version of Trump’s tax plan. The U.S. Senate narrowly passed a slightly different tax plan at 2 A.M. on Saturday morning. The House and Senate have appointed members to a conference committee to reconcile the different versions before the plan can become law. Rep. Roskam was appointed to that committee.
On Monday, December 4, The Loyola graduate student employee union (as part of SEIU Local 73) hosted a rally on campus to protest against the tax bill. A proposed $1.5 trillion cut would devastate higher education by taxing student loan debt, gutting already inadequate college and university funding by taking away important state and local deductions and count waived graduate student tuition as income. Over 50 grad student employees, non-tenure track faculty, students, and tenure track faculty came together to protest the bill and called on local Illinois Republican Congressman, Peter Roskam, and Speaker Paul Ryan to slow down the bill, commit to a transparent and democratic legislative process and not sacrifice higher ed to give tax cuts to corporations and the top 1%.
Monday’s emergency rally at Loyola was partly inspired by walkouts at Duke University and Syracuse University last week and shows the growing national resistance against the GOP tax bill. Yesterday, graduate student employees from Illinois, North Carolina, New York, Missouri, California and the District of Columbia took their concerns about the GOP tax plan directly to House Speaker Paul Ryan.
“As institutions of higher education grapple with reduced budgets, they will have to make tough decisions. As a graduate student employee at Loyola, I want a seat at the table and have a voice in those decisions that affect my future. Loyola must recognize my union,” says Alec Stubbs, Teaching Assistant at Loyola University Chicago.